An online dust-up recently occurred where Metro was asked on Facebook how many of its workers take transit and they answered a little more than one percent (the citywide number is over seven percent). Metro later deleted their comment, along with a response to it, prompting angry responses from the transit blog The Bus Bench. (The Bus Bench had a post from January where an email from Metro was sent to them regarding the number of transit-taking employees--the number calculated by the blog is indeed a bit over one percent, but it doesn't include those who are simply issued transit passes, or carpool, bike and walk to work.) Well, Metro had promised to clarify the percentage quoted, and the deleted answer, and they have an official response today via The Source. Slightly defensive, the press release states that half of Metro staff who report to the headquarters near Union Station (pictured) really are straphangers. The deletion point isn't really brought up.
"A statement on Metro employees taking mass transit
Some bloggers and media are reporting that only a small fraction of Metro employees ride public transit to work.
This claim is taken out of context and overlooks the fact that about 90 percent of Metro employees spend their days or nights either driving buses and trains that transport hundreds of thousands of people to and from work or maintaining the vehicles and supporting Metro’s 24/7 operation in other ways.
There are about 8,000 people involved in this effort. Many report to work before 6 a.m. while others work a graveyard shift, some come from outlying counties, and the staff is assigned to 20 different facilities located mostly in industrial areas spread throughout Los Angeles County. Public transportation is not a practical option for these workers.
On the other hand, there are about 1,300 managers, planners, engineers and other Metro employees who work at Metro’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters and 764 of them – more than 50 percent — do use public transportation including Metro, Metrolink and the municipal bus operators.
Metro CEO Art Leahy, a former bus operator, commutes to work via public transit as do many of the senior staff, who are required by the CEO to ride buses and trains as often as possible. Other Metro employees participate in vanpools and carpools. Some bike to work, others walk. Moreover, during non-work hours, many Metro employees and their families ride Metro buses and trains, a practice Metro encourages. --Marc Littman" Metro HQ image from rjmcconnell via flickr